Native Plant of the Week: New England Aster ~ Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

New England Aster ~ Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (Aster novae-angliae)

New England Aster is a wonderful perennial native for late season color. We added some to our landscape last fall and it's flowering for the first time this year.

I associate this Aster with the southern Great Lakes region and northeast, but it does occur here in Minnesota.

Flower color can range from a medium purple/violet to pink. Blooming from late August and sometimes continuing into early November.

I thought I would see more bumble bees visiting the flowers but their preference right now is the Showy Goldenrod in our landscape. One Spotted Cucumber Beetle was crawling on the flower rays.

New England Aster can get extremely tall, especially in moister soils reaching heights over 6 feet, but shorter in sandy, well drained soils.

The leaves are relatively short and narrow, hairy and clasp the flower stem. The stem is also hairy. The lower leaves on a tall cluster of New England Aster will brown out and die off. Plant some medium height prairie grasses around this Aster such as Little Bluestem if you want to hide the unattractive lower stems.

This native perennial is tolerant of partial to full sun, sand to loamy soils. Plant in combination with Showy Goldenrod for an outstanding contrasting color display in the late fall.

Kartesz, J.T., The Biota of North America Program (BONAP).
North American Plant Atlas. Chapel Hill, N.C.
New England Aster is native to (mostly) eastern North America. See map for range